Air Seychelles has announced that it will now offer connections to China through the expansion of its codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways.
At the onset of the announcement, the Seychelles Tourism Board is hoping the agreement will ease the travelling experience of Chinese tourists choosing to holiday in Seychelles.
Air Seychelles’ “HM” code will be added to Etihad Airways’ daily service between Abu Dhabi and China’s capital, Beijing.
The codeshare agreement which takes effect on 14th June, 2017, will offer a one-stop connection between Seychelles and Beijing, via Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi is linked to Seychelles through twice-daily flights with Air Seychelles and partner airline Etihad Airways.
Making the announcement, the national airline’s Chief Executive Roy Kinnear said: “Our new codeshare route with Etihad Airways provides guests with convenient travel options to Beijing and reinforces the strong political and economic relations between Seychelles and China.
Kinnear added that Air Seychelles is working hand-in-hand with its tourism partners to help grow the number of travelers from China.
“For instance, this codeshare will support the Seychelles Tourism Board’s recent roadshow in China by providing travel agents with new booking options to Seychelles.”
The Seychelles Tourism Board has been intensifying its marketing efforts on the Chinese market following the launch of the destination’s 2017 strategy for the Asian nation in May this year.
Emphasis is being placed on the more savvy travelers, with a particular focus on visitors from the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen.
Air Seychelles recently discontinued a weekly scheduled charter flight service between Beijing and the island nation’s main island of Mahé, which started in January 2016. Commenting on the new codeshare deal, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Mrs. Sherin Francis said this will hopefully make it easier and seamless for Chinese visitors travelling to Seychelles.
“This is very crucial, nowadays visitors want the most smooth, easiest and seamless travel experience when going on holiday. It’s a decisive factor and anything actually that can make travel easier for our visitors to Seychelles is most welcome,” said Mrs Francis.
According to visitors arrival figures published by the National Bureau of Statistics, a total of 6,133 Chinese tourists have come to Seychelles up to 11th June this year. This represents a 17 percent decrease when compared to the same period last year.
The STB Chief Executive noted that if the flight and transit time is right, combined with competitive air fares, the new codeshare agreement between Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways should help to consolidate the market.
“In addition to this we also happy that Air Seychelles is negotiating with a Chinese company and hopefully we can get a few direct charters for the rest of the year that will also help to consolidate the Chinese market,” Mrs Francis added.
The latest codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways offering a one-stop connection to China is the national carrier’s fourth codeshare connection with its partner airline from the United Arab Emirates in East Asia, after Hong Kong, Seoul in South Korea, and Tokyo and Nagoya in Japan.